How can you choose the best private cataract surgeon in London?

At your recent visit to the opticians, the optometrist may have told you that you have cataracts. It’s not the best news in the world, but it’s not the worst news either. Cataract surgery is one of the most common and successful procedures performed in the UK.

So what’s next?

You may have received a referral or recommendation from your optometrist or general practitioner. This isn’t a bad start. However, you may not want to limit your options just yet. While their opinion is valuable, they are likely basing their decision on which practice they’re most familiar with or who’s geographically closest to you. The recommendation may not take into consideration which surgeon has the best success rate, whether they work in the National Health Service, or if their skills and specialisms are suited to your particular circumstances, motivations and goals. This is your eyes we’re talking about. You need to ensure you’ve covered all grounds. 

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So how can you take it upon yourself to choose the best cataract surgeon for you?

Sure, you could ask a close friend or family member who has undergone the procedure. But, your friend isn’t you, and their needs may have been completely different from yours. Still, it’s worth doing a quick google search to see what comes up. If the recommendation has a website, you’ve got a good place to begin your research. 

If you don’t have a recommendation or want a full list of options, simply searching ‘best cataract surgeon’ or ‘private cataract surgeon’ along with the town or city that you would like to have the surgery done, is a good idea. 

The first page of google should fill with results, and your next job is to have a read through the list and select one that catches your eye. (You may need to browse a few before you find one that ticks all of the boxes).

What criteria should the cataract surgeon meet?

1. Does the first page tell you who that private surgeon is?

A lot of websites concentrate on the clinic or private hospital. While this is nice information, it doesn’t demonstrate the abilities of the person who will be performing your surgery. When a surgeon represents the face of a practice, it shows that the focus is on the skills and experience of the surgeon – qualities that directly contribute to a successful surgery.

2. Does the surgeon specialize in cataract surgery?

While the surgeon may have vast experience correcting vision and treating many rare and complex eye conditions, do they specialize in cataract surgery? After all, that’s the problem that you need to fix.  

3. Is the surgeon’s website transparent and patient-focused?

While it’s important that the surgeon’s skills feature on the front page, the whole website shouldn’t act as a showreel for them. The website should clearly convey everything you need to know about private cataract surgery. Can you easily find information on cataracts? What are your cataract surgery options? What are the results after cataract surgery? Is there a FAQ section devoted to what happens on the day of surgery and other popular queries?

4. How do you know if you can trust a surgeon?

Checking the surgeon’s background and education will show you whether they have undergone extensive training to get where they are today. A good clue here is if they have worked as an eye surgeon for the National Health Service (NHS). Working for the NHS requires some of the most rigorous training in the world. If the surgeon has reached an NHS consultant position, they deserve major trust points. 

Another great way to establish trust is to read patient testimonials and ratings. If these are validated through an independent service such as Trustpilot, you can be certain that they’re genuine and reliable. 

5. Does the success rate of the surgeon matter?

The answer is yes. On the website, be sure to look out for the surgeon’s success rate and the complication rate. If the surgeon is claiming a 100% success rate throughout their entire career, be cautious. A cataract surgeon should be open and realistic about the possible complications of any cataract operation. 

6. Should I choose a surgeon who has performed a high number of cataract procedures?

The short answer is yes. However, it’s necessary to know whether the surgeon continues to perform a high volume of cataract surgeries today. Cataract surgeons improve when they consistently perform a high volume of surgery. Just like a footballer in their heyday, just because they scored lots of goals 20 years ago, doesn’t mean they’re performing to the same standard today. You need to know that the surgeon is still on top of their game and always improving their skills and using the latest techniques and technology.

Find a surgeon who is performing on at least 30 to 40 private or NHS cataract patients a month – this is a good indication that their skills will be current. 

7. Is a professor always a top cataract surgeon?

Although professors are usually experts in their field and teachers of the highest rank, it is not a reflection of how good they are as cataract surgeons. Many university professors focus on the academic side of surgery as opposed to actually performing it. Pick the best cataract surgeon based on their surgical training. 

8. Will you get to see the same cataract surgeon throughout your cataract surgery journey? 

Consistency is essential. I believe that a patient should see the same surgeon at every visit, from the initial consultation through to the aftercare and beyond. Your surgeon should know your eyes, your motivations and goals like the back of their hand. This kind of rapport only comes with recurrent interactions. Meeting your surgeon for the first time on the day of your surgery is a sign that the clinic is trying to keep costs down and could be compromising on quality. 

Once you’ve found a private cataract surgeon that ticks all the boxes, you should make an appointment to meet them face-to-face. This is the best way to establish whether they are a good match for you, and it will also allow you to ask any additional questions that are unique to your circumstances. There’s also nothing wrong from getting a second opinion if you’re still unsure. 

For any more guidance on how to choose the best cataract surgeon for you, please give us a call on 0203 807 5063 or book an appointment here. We would be more than happy to help you. 

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About the expert

Mr Samer Hamada | Consultant Ophthalmologist and Corneal Surgeon

MD, MSc, DO (hons), FRCSEd, FRCOphth I am Samer Hamada, founder and consultant ophthalmic surgeon with over 20 years’ experience in ophthalmology. I am a world-renowned specialist in cornea, cataract and refractive surgery. I’m not only a leading surgeon but also the only dual fellowship trained in corneal diseases in children from reputable institutions in the UK. At Eye Clinic London I work closely with other consultant ophthalmologists, optometrists and orthoptists to achieve the best outcomes for our patients. Our main aim is to make sure our patients get the safest and best treatments available to them. We put your safety before anything else so you can rest assured that if you choose us you will be in the best and safest hands.

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